The Unhealthiest Fast Food Burgers—Ranked!
Fast food has a bad reputation in the health world for a number of reasons. These foods are notorious for containing far too many calories and a hefty amount of unhealthy fat and sodium, in addition to a long list of additives and preservatives that are often hard to even pronounce, let alone things you’d want to eat and put in your body. One of the most popular fast food items is hands-down the burger—and there are a lot of variations of this menu item. Not only are they notorious on the menus of America’s top restaurant chains (which we already rounded up for you), but they’re also readily available at all your go-to fast-food restaurants, too. We decided to figure out which ones are the worst for your health at these quick-service places, too.
Here’s how we determined our list:
Methodology: In order to identify the unhealthiest fast food burgers in America, we compiled a list of the most caloric burgers from 17 of the most popular fast food restaurants nationwide. The burgers with the most calories, in most cases, also have the highest total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium contents as well. To break ties, we chose the burger with a greater amount of sodium and deemed that one less healthy. We also only considered the top three most unhealthy burgers at each restaurant to ensure we represented a diverse range of restaurants on this list. We also only considered fast food restaurants that provided all the nutritional information. No sides were considered in this ranking either. Every burger on this list has at least 1,000 calories.
Now, here are the 15 unhealthiest fast food restaurant burgers in the country, ranked from the least unhealthy to the absolute worst of the worst. Notice that a lot of the burgers on this list either contain three beef patties or include several slices of bacon. For some, they contain both.
Culver’s Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger (Triple)
This triple patty stacker is packing in calories and fat, which makes it one of the least healthy fast food burgers out there. White button mushrooms that are sautéed in butter and seasoned with pepper, parsley, garlic, and salt sit between three beef patties. And if there wasn’t enough butter on the mushrooms already, there’s even more coating the bun. For some, this burger contains an entire day’s worth of protein at nearly 70 grams.
Carl’s Jr. 1/2 lb. Bacon Truffle Angus Burger
Notice that this burger has about 10 calories less than Culver’s Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger, but what makes this burger an even less healthy option is that it packs 2,150 milligrams of sodium. That’s nearly equivalent to the 2,300 milligrams of sodium one is recommended to consume at most in one day, according to the United States Department of Agriculture 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Applewood smoked bacon, fried onion strings, mayonnaise, and Swiss cheese all contribute to this burger’s sky-high sodium count.
Whataburger’s Chop House Cheddar Burger
What’s in this Whataburger Chop House Cheddar Burger? Bacon, beef, a lot of cheese, and cheese sauce. It makes sense why this burger is loaded in saturated fat. Interestingly, the burger also packs 11 grams of added sugar. For context, two Twisted Strawberry Blast Twizzlers contain the same amount of added sugar. The American Heart Association suggests that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day and that men consume no more than 36 grams. So if you’re a woman, this burger cancels out half of your daily allowance of added sugar and—regardless of gender—calories.
Whataburger’s Mushroom Swiss Burger
Another mushroom Swiss burger makes the unhealthiest fast food burgers list. Whataburger’s version of the tasty burger is slightly less healthy than Culver’s, and this is because of its higher calorie and sodium content. In fact, this burger packs about twice as much sodium as Culver’s burger does, which had 968 milligrams.
Culver’s Bacon Deluxe (Triple)
As if the Culver’s Deluxe sandwich wasn’t already a triple whammy with three beef patties, the bacon version is even more so, with a few slices of bacon sandwiched between the bun, too. With 76 grams of total fat, this sandwich has as much fat as 15 tablespoons of plain cream cheese.
Whataburger’s Monterey Melt
The Monterey Melt at Whataburger has as many calories as 10 slices of Swiss cheese (28 grams each). Another alarming thing about this burger is its sodium content at a staggering 2,510 milligrams, which is well over the maximum suggested amount of 2,300 milligrams. To compare, if you devoured 10 slices of Swiss, you’d consume about 520 milligrams of sodium.
McDonald’s Double Bacon Smokehouse Burger
The Double Bacon Smokehouse Burger is the only burger from McDonald’s to make this list. Anyone else shocked? For many years, the Big Mac was thought to be the restaurant chain’s most caloric offender, but it actually contains less than half of the calories and fat than the Double Bacon Smokehouse burger.
Wendy’s Barbecue Cheeseburger Triple
BBQ sauce may give any dish a sweet and smoky boost, but at what cost? Not only is this burger from Wendy’s chock-full of saturated fat, but it also packs about 15 grams of purely added sugar. You can have about 36 Reese’s Pieces for the same amount of added sugar.
Burger King’s Bacon King
Any burger called the Bacon King is bound to have a lot of calories, right? Not only is this BK burger loaded in calories, but it also contains a whopping 31 grams of saturated fat. For a healthier bacon-burger option, opt for the restaurant chain’s bacon cheeseburger, which clocks in at 320 calories, 16 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 710 milligrams of sodium.
RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.
Wendy’s S’Awesome Bacon Cheeseburger Triple
This triple-decker sandwich from Wendy’s has about as many calories as two of Dave’s Single burgers, with one clocking in at 570 calories. Not to mention, one Dave’s Single contains 13 grams of saturated fat, which is less than half of the amount of saturated fat that’s in the S’Awesome Bacon Cheeseburger.
Carl’s Jr. The 1/2 lb. Guacamole Bacon Thickburger
Guacamole on a burger? It’s no wonder this burger packs 1,200 calories and 89 grams of total fat! You might think the avocado contributes healthy fat to this meal, but when there’s already half of a pound of beef coupled with bacon, there’s really no need for additional fat.
Burger King’s Rodeo King
Onion rings, beef, cheese, and bacon? Sounds a bit excessive to us. It’s no surprise that with all of this extra salty sustenance, the sodium content of this burger is equal to that of how much you’re supposed to consume (at most) in one day. If you really have a hankering for a burger, how about ordering the cheeseburger from BK, which only contains 280 calories, 13 grams of total fat, and 6 grams of saturated fat? You could also split a side of onion rings with a friend if you want those too and feel like splurging.
Wendy’s Peppercorn Mushroom Melt (Triple)
Note, this image does not showcase the true triple patty sandwich (it’s the single), but you get the picture. Just how much meat is on here? About 3/4 of a pound. Yikes, no wonder there’s 78 grams of protein. A typical, bottled protein shake contains between 15 and 20 grams of protein, so eating this burger in one sitting is equivalent to drinking between three to five shakes.
Hardee’s 2/3 lb. Monster Thickburger
Two 1/3 pound beef patties comprise the majority of this burger’s insides. Another four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese, and a swipe of mayonnaise all take this burger to a whopping 90 grams of total fat. If you order the 1/2 pound cheeseburger from Hardee’s, you get half of the calories (640) and about one-third of total fat (33 grams).
Burger King’s Triple Stacker King
Finally, the unhealthiest fast food burger of them all: Burger King’s Triple Stacker King. This burger costs you about two-thirds of your daily allotment of calories, about two days worth of saturated fat, and a day’s worth of sodium. Did you ever think that three of Burger King’s burgers would make the unhealthiest fast food burgers list?